There is something to be said for the goodness of a single star ingredient. Roasting chickpeas with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, and a dash of whatever seasoning you choose transforms them into an irresistible treat with an outer crispness that gives into a pleasantly soft interior. Munch on them for protein-rich snacks, throw them on top of salads, or let them be a fun garnish to contrast a creamy soup.
Like all others in the bean family, chickpeas are a grounding, satiating food well suited to cool-weather cooking. Their abundant fiber and complex sugars gradually release a steady stream of energy to safeguard against blood-sugar blues. If you can multiply this recipe, do it—having more never hurts, and they keep for up to a week (if you can stop yourself from eating them for that long).
3 cups cooked chickpeas, or 2 (15 oz) cans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more if needed
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Seasoning of choice
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Spread the chickpeas out on a baking sheet with a rim, and using an absorbent kitchen towel, dry off the chickpeas as much as possible. Note: skipping this step will sacrifice crispness and crunch. Right on the baking sheet, toss the dry chickpeas with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and any additional seasoning if you choose. Toss well to coat. Add a bit more oil to coat if necessary.
- Roast chickpeas for 30 to 35 minutes until they are crispy on the outside, shaking the pan after 15 minutes.
- Crispy Chickpeas with a Kick. Toss the chickpeas with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Or try 1/2 teaspoon of any kind of chili powder, like chipotle or smoked paprika.
- Rosemary-Lemon Crispy Chickpeas. Toss chickpeas with 1 teaspoon very finely chopped rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest.
- Garlic-Roasted Crispy Chickpeas. Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.
Because the oven does most of the work in this recipe, it makes sense to maximize your cooking time while it’s turned on. Roast the chickpeas while you are cooking something else in the oven, perhaps roasting vegetables or baking a casserole-type dish. What if you’re using the oven at a lower temperature, like 350˚F. Go ahead and roast the chickpeas anyway; it may take a little longer but not by far. Just keep your eyes peeled so that they don’t burn.
At 20 grams of protein per 1/2 cup, chickpeas and other beans contain a higher percentage of protein than eggs and most animal-based protein. With that comes the added benefit of health-protective fiber, choline to assist in fat digestion, as well as a significant host of the micronutrients, calcium, iron, zinc, and folate. They also manage to counteract high blood pressure, cholesterol, and digestive distress from an inflamed GI tract.
In natural healing traditions worldwide, the Doctrine of Signature states that a food’s color gives the key to its health benefits. Chickpeas and other yellow-colored foods support the spleen, which is associated with smooth digestion and muscular tone. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners will routinely offer a prescription to increase a specific food color that supports your organs in need. This “energetic” model isn’t yet scientifically proven, but of course, it’s not rare for ancient wisdom to point the way to truth. So, enjoy chickpeas knowing your spleen very well may be benefitting from your choice!